Band Geek: Tame Impala
by C. Laurel
graphic by N. Chantos
If you’re looking to bob your head to some groovy bass-lines and phaser-flooded guitar riffs, look no further. Australian rock band Tame Impala, formed by front man Kevin Parker, is a band that should not be overlooked in the musical world. Formerly known as the Dee Dee Dums, Tame Impala is recognized for their psychedelic sounds reminiscent of the late ‘60s and ‘70s.
Starting out in 1999, the band stuck with bedroom recordings and garage jams up until 2008 when they were recognized by independent record label Modular Recordings and released their first self-titled EP. From there they had nowhere to go but up. With the help from social networking sites such as MySpace, as well as opening for more popular bands such as You Am I, The Black Keys, and MGMT, Tame Impala’s popularity skyrocketed. With the release of their first album Innerspeaker in 2010 and Lonerism in 2012, they turned out to be one of the most talked about bands of the last couple of years.
If I could use one word to describe Tame Impala’s sound it would be “revival.” The reason being that Tame Impala’s music is reminiscent of sounds long forgotten, sounds which were utilized during the psychedelic era of the late ‘60s and ‘70s. But Tame Impala puts a more contemporary spin on these old sounds. An even better way to describe the band, according to the Luno blog, is “a steady flowing psychedelic groove rock band that emphasizes dream-like melody…”
As well as being similar to the sound of the psychedelic era, Tame Impala is also inspired by psychedelic culture and the idea of enhancing experiences of the mind and body through altered consciousness, surreal visuals, and hypnotic states. Many would think that in order to fully enjoy this type of music, one would have to be influenced by mind-altering substances to acquire the full effect. However, Kevin Parker responds to this mentality on The Guardian magazine’s website: “I’m always surprised whenever someone tells me Tame Impala reminds them of getting blazed. I never think my own music is druggy at all,” says Parker, considering his sound’s synthesthetic appeal. “Sometimes it helps. I don’t wanna say it’s a requirement. For me, it’s like doing high jump at an athletics carnival: if you can do it without drugs, that’s good. If you can get higher with drugs, that’s great. But if you need drugs to get to that bar in the first place, that’s not right.”
Hopefully, as time progresses, Tame Impala will become a name that is known all over the world. As the sounds of decades past begin to reemerge, Tame Impala will go down in history as one of the bands that successfully pioneered this time machine effect.
Listen to these standout tracks: “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards,” “Solitude is Bliss,” “Mind Mischief,” “The Bold Arrow of Time”
“Band Geek” is C. Laurel’s monthly column about his latest musical obsessions. When he is not creating music of his own, he scours the net and local record stores for interesting bands to share.